May: Thyroid Awareness Month

May: Thyroid Awareness Month

For most Australians, thyroid health is not something that crosses our minds frequently. That is exactly why the Australian Thyroid Foundation is urging Australians to take a closer look at their thyroid health this May.

There are many problems that can occur with the thyroid, including both an overactive and underactive thyroid and even cancer. Thyroid problems can be lifelong, and while there is an increased amount of treatments available, it is still one of the least-understood parts of our body.

The thyroid is a gland in the neck, located near the base of the throat. It helps control many of the body’s metabolic processes through hormone production, including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

Symptoms can be confusing at first, since they rarely have an obvious cause. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, can include anxiety, an inability to tolerate heat, weight loss, heart palpitations and feeling tired. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism can include fatigue, an inability to tolerate the cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, poor memory and depression.

Since most thyroid problems are genetic, it is possible that thyroid diseases can be passed down from your parents, sometimes without even knowing.

Thyroid Disorders currently affect ten times more women than men, worldwide, and become more common as we get older. Statistics show that there is likely over one million Australians living with an undiagnosed thyroid disorder.

According to the Australian Thyroid Foundation, Australians should have their thyroid checked every six to twelve months. If you have any of the symptoms listed earlier and have not been able to find a reason why, it could be because you are one of the million people in Australia with an undiagnosed thyroid disorder. Be more aware of your thyroid health this May, and go to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms.